Ceci N’est Pas Un Post

It’s more of a rambling disconnected rant.

I’m feeling disheartened this week.

Quarantine (physical distancing? lockdown-that’s-not-a-lockdown?) is still going well in our house. The kids are managing their schoolwork, and still like spending time with each other. Hubs is continuing to work from home. And I’m well on my to becoming some kind of June Cleaver clone.

I realize that quarantine (or whatever you want to call these 10-odd weeks of staying at home, but not technically being ‘quarantined’) is working for us because we have a lot of privilege: strong internet connection and multiple devices, parents who understand the kids’ schoolwork, a backyard for exercise, and enough space and money to stock up on (but not hoard) food.

We’re taking this “quarantine” seriously because we don’t want to get sick or get anyone else sick (basically our whole extended family except for our kids qualifies as high risk). We’ve only seen our local family members at a 6-foot distance, and have no idea when (or even if, should any of us actually catch this thing) we’ll see our out-of-town family in-person again. We grocery shop once a week, with maybe one other trip to do a quick pick-up of takeout or essentials. I think I have been inside a building that is not my house 5 times in the last 10 weeks (wearing a mask all but one of those times), and my kids have been in 0 buildings.

Which brings me to the disheartening part:

The sheer selfishness displayed in stores, on social media, and out on the street.

The people who think their desire for a haircut or a hug outweighs another person’s desire to stay healthy (and, you know, not die). The people who refuse to budge on a sidewalk, making those of us with canes hobble up on the grass or out in the street to observe proper distancing. The people who wear a mask under their chin and elbow their way inside others’ 6-foot bubbles while stating, “I’m not sick” (as if asymptomatic transmission isn’t a thing.) And the people who wander shops because they’re bored or need one inessential thing, potentially putting the employees and others shoppers at risk (looking at you dude checking out yesterday with a single apple and a newspaper).

And that’s not even counting the ten thousand people partying in a Toronto park (fortunately no longer my city), or (closer to home) crowding the bike paths, and having multi-family get-togethers at the beach.

I feel like pretty much everyone I know knows someone who is intent on putting their own comfort above other people’s lives, either because they think the disease is overhyped (“more people die in car accidents, they don’t make you stop driving” – never mind that car accidents aren’t contagious and don’t risk crashing the entire medical system), or they believe they’re invincible (“most cases are mild, I’ll be fine” – meanwhile ‘mild’ for this disease covers everything short of hospitalization, from no symptoms to 8 weeks bedridden and fighting for breath), or they just don’t want to “give the government that kind of power over them.”

And it makes me sad and angry and terrified. Not only for myself, but for all my friends (well, and the strangers, too) who are out there working in pharmacies and hospitals and grocery stores, putting themselves in harm’s way so people can get what they need to live, while so many people aren’t willing to do the bare minimum to try and not infect others.

So, while selfish people are out there shopping four times a week to alleviate boredom, I’m here trying to weigh whether my kids will be homeschooling come September (seriously, is being stuck, unmoving, at a desk for six hours, unable to get within 6 feet of friends, and having a single ‘recess’ composed of walking a track worth the risk of bringing a potentially deadly illness home to our family? I’m leaning towards no right now.)

So, yeah, I’m frustrated, and sad, and scared, and maybe a little bitter. I’m not sure when our world became so selfish, or whether it’s always been this way.

Stay home. Keep 6 feet (2 metres) away from anyone not in your household. If you can’t avoid that (because of necessary shopping, medical appointments, etc) wear a mask. And before you go out, think: If I tested positive tomorrow, how easy would it be to contact trace everyone I’ve been within 6 feet of/inside a building with for the last ten days?

Because as far as I’m concerned, if you refuse to follow even these simple instructions, you’re saying you don’t care if people – people like me – die.

Me in my homemade mask with my quaran-cut.

PS Yes, I’m also incredibly frustrated with our provincial government for beginning the reopening process before having enough testing and contact tracing in place, and for refusing to follow the rules themselves. But that’s a rant for another day.




Kidlit Steps Up

This week our province announced that schools will be closed until at least September (and honestly, I’m not sure what school – or anything – is going to look like at that point).

And while other things are opening up (parks, baseball diamonds, etc.) we’re still planning on staying pretty close to home and away from people. Without our usual summer entertainments, we’re looking for things to do.

Fortunately kidlit creators are stepping up to help out. Below is a list of children’s illustrators and authors offering videos and activities to keep your kids (and you) entertained.

Feel free to add any others you know about in the comments.

How a Pandemic Can Build Character

No, I’m not talking in real life, although I’m sure there are some people who’ve found themselves stepping up under these trying circumstances. (No shame if you haven’t. Curling up in a ball and watching the entirety of Netflix is a perfectly valid reaction to what we’re going through right now.)

Usually, I spend the last few minutes of each night thinking about whatever story I’m working on – figuring out what happens in the next scene, trying to solve a tricky plot hole, etc.

However, since the pandemic started, I haven’t been writing (combination of lack of time and a stressed-out brain that refuses to focus), which means I haven’t had new things to ponder before bed.

So, this week I decided to figure out what the main characters of my WiP are doing during the pandemic.

(Not that I’m planning on including it in the book – if people will believe that world has witches, vampires, and demons, hopefully they’ll buy the lack of a pandemic. Either that or maybe I can skip that time frame between books, with just a vague mention…assuming this doesn’t stretch on for too many years.)

But figuring out what my four main witches would be doing in this pandemic has been really helpful for understanding their characters. Knowing Character A falls apart, Character B tries to use magic to reinforce the lockdown (you can blame her for the murder hornets – sorry!), Character C starts looking for demonic sources of the virus, and Character D struggles through without magic, just doing her best to keep her family alive, has really given their personalities some added depth.

Will this information ever some out in a book? Who knows? Maybe I’ll write it into a short story one day (when my brain can focus on writing for more than five seconds at a time). Or maybe I’ll just add it to their character sheets along with random info like how they take their coffee (Character A drinks a red eye, B drinks a Matcha green tea latte with almond milk, C prefers a regular cup of brewed coffee in a china cup, and D goes for a Peppermint Mocha – iced or hot depending on the season – in case you’re wondering).

But whether or not the info makes it onto the page, at least it’s given me something to think about, as well as a way to flesh out the characters I’m working with. Now, if I can only make myself sit down and actually write…

May Update

Anyone else feel like time has gone all wonky? March felt 27 weeks long, while April lasted about 2 days.

It’s been another month with minimal writing. I managed to sit down with my WiP once or twice, but, again, most of my time and energy has gone into keeping my kids entertained and educated.

My twins had their birthday in April, so I put a lot of effort into making sure they had a good day, despite the pandemic. Basically that meant cooking their favourite foods (I may have hoarded eggs for a few weeks to ensure I had enough for their birthday requests), and, since stores are closed, handmaking them birthday gifts so they’d have something to open (we ordered some stuff online, too, and are still waiting for one package to arrive).

With just under a month until my daughter’s birthday, I’m already working on her birthday requests.

I’ve basically come to grips with the fact I won’t be querying this summer, like I had hoped. However, I do need to start writing again. Not exactly sure how I’m going to squeeze it into my day, but, since it doesn’t look like anything’s changing here for the next few months, I need to figure out how to work in this new normal.

And, of course, I’m reading less/listening to fewer audiobooks, too, since dog-walking and cooking are now family activities.


April Reading Stats

  • Adult Mystery (8)
  • Adult Urban Fantasy/Paranormal (1)
  • Adult Fantasy (1)
  • YA Fantasy (1)
  • YA Mystery (1)
  • Re-Reads (1)

March Total: 12 (+ 1 Re-Read)

Year-to-Date: 78 (+ 8 Re-Reads)